I am always looking for the bestest chocolate chip cookie recipe EVER. I find it fascinating that this classic cookie recipe can be changed ever so slightly and the resulting flavor, size, chewiness, crispiness, color, etc. can vary greatly. All versions delicious, of course. But if you want to get REALLY picky about it, it can prove to be a very tasty & challenging science experiment. The coolest recipes to try back-to-back are these three different recipes by Alton Brown:
Then of course there is the infamous NYT published cookie recipe by David Leite and adapted by Mr. Chocolate himself, Jacques Torres, which recognizes the benefits of letting the dough stand overnight (ideally 36 hours) to let the flavors meld together giving the dough that rich toffee flavor:
But if you have a cookie dough monster in your house, like I do, you might be better off with what I think might just be my new favorite recipe for chocolate chip cookies published in Cook's Illustrated as the "Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie" which extracts that that rich toffee flavor in no time, by browning the butter and making a carmel-like mixture with eggs, sugar and melted butter before folding in the dry ingredients:
There are some other contenders out there that are on my "must bake" list, but have yet to try. Please don't hesistate to test them out and let me know your thoughts:
- Savory Sweet Life - Alice's Recipe (I like that she shows the reader what creamed butter and sugar should look like. It's crucial, people.)
- David Lebovitz's Chocolate Chip Cookies (Standard recipe, but dough is rolled and sliced like freezer cookies and then slightly undercooked. Sometimes it's all in the technique.)
I think the reason that my favorite chocolate chip cookie aligns so well with Cook's Illustrated is that we share these three basic principles of what makes a chocolate chip cookie baked to perfection:
- Crisp at the edges
- Chewy in the middle
- Full of rich toffee flavor
(I think it would be a good idea for one of our next Bakefests would be to do a Cookiefest and try all these recipes in one sitting. What do you ladies think?)
Of note on the Cook's Illustrated recipe, I was a bit skeptical of how wet and somewhat greasy the dough looked at first...
But the cookies coming out of the oven were a very pleasant suprise and proved me completely wrong! In America's Test Kitchen I Trust.
Cook’s Illustrated Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie
yield: 16 cookies
1¾ cups (8¾ ounces) AP flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons (1¾ sticks) unsalted butter
½ cup (3½ ounces) granulated sugar
¾ cup (5¼ ounces) dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
¾ cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
- Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.
- Add both sugars, salt and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth and shiny. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.
- Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use a #24 cookie scoop). Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet.
- Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10-14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.